Got a hot date planned but lacking money? Our guide to the best things to do in Cardiff for zero pennies should help you through it. Rather than the standard listings, we’ve decided to plan out a weekend for you. Sure, you’ll have to get up early and there’s a good chance your legs will hate you come Monday morning, but it’ll be so worth it.

Saturday

So the first thing you have to do is grab a bus, because while St Fagans is certainly achievable by foot, you’ve got a packed day ahead of you, and you’ll wanna savour every moment. For those of you not in the know, St Fagans is an open-air museum which chronicles Welsh history. This isn’t your typical museum, though, as it’s all very interactive. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might even spot some animals too.

People watch at Cardiff Castle and Bute Park

Once you’ve had your fill with St Fagans, you’ll wanna grab the bus back into town, stopping off at the Castle and Bute Park. We’re cheating here, because if you’re planning on going inside you’ll have to spend some money. However, if you live or work in Cardiff, you can pick up a Castle Key for £6.50, which gets you free admission to the castle for three years! It’s the perfect place to go for a packed lunch. Once you’ve picked up your key and had a look around, head out into Bute Park - which is easily the best park in Cardiff as far as we’re concerned. It’s so good that we’ll be coming back tomorrow…

Listen to some music at Royal Welsh College Of Music & Drama

Done imagining yourself as a medieval court jester, and tired of looking at the natural beauty all around you (not that you could ever get tired of it)? A good place to go from here is the Royal Welsh College Of Music & Drama. They have a pretty rich and diverse calendar of free events that you can enjoy in the foyer and gallery - from musical performances to art shows. All top quality too.

Grab a Library Card at Cardiff Central Library

Time to head into town! The first thing you you’ll wanna do is check out the modern architecture of Cardiff Central Library, as well as filling in some forms to become a member (with a vast collection of books to hand, you’d be a fool not to join). This will set you up nicely for dinner, which is where those Victorians come into play…

Lose yourself in the arcades

Cardiff city centre is home to a ridiculous amount of Victorian arcades (Castle Arcade, Dominions Arcade, Duke Street Arcade, High Street Arcade, Morgan Arcade, Royal Arcade, and Wyndham Arcade), all unique in their own way. If you’re looking for a decent cup of coffee, some vintage clothes, or ice cream made to order with liquid nitrogen, the arcades have it all!

Dodge the swans at Roath Park

By now you’re probably pretty tired, but just trust us on this one. From town, you’ll head north to Roath Park which, if you’re keeping score, is the second best park in Cardiff. Once you get past all the swans and geese, you’ll find a stunning Victorian Lake and a lot of benches. Sit on one of them and do some people watching as the sun goes down. Not a bad way to end the day, right?

Sunday

Walk to Castle Coch and back

Sorry, but we’re kicking off the day nice and early, and with a walk. A really long walk. In fact, if you have a bike, grab it. From Bute Park you’ll follow the River Taff all the way up to Castle Coch, which isn’t as nice as Cardiff Castle, but certainly up there. Again, it’s nice going inside, but it’ll cost you. Time for some art and culture!

Check out the dinosaurs at the National Museum and Art Gallery

Once you’ve made your way back to the city, we recommend checking out the National Museum and Art Gallery, which has an overwhelming amount of beautiful art, but also some dinosaurs. Yes! Dinosaurs in Cardiff! They even have a model of a whale (or fish!?) with a gigantic mouth. It really is a great place for a comedic selfie.

Marvel at the Millennium Centre's architecture

It’s Cardiff Bay time! First up is the most beautiful building in Cardiff: Wales Millennium Centre. Just look at it! It’s wonderful. The inside is excellent too, with cafes and bars brushed up against the sides, leaving an open space in the middle, which often hosts free shows and art. 

Sit on the steps outside the Senedd at the National Assembly

Just behind the Millennium Centre is the National Assembly for Wales (another stunning building) - which happens to house the Senedd: a public building featuring galleries and a myriad of activities. It’s not a time intensive place, but certainly worth a spot on your Cardiff bucket list.

Take a scenic journey to Penarth via the Cardiff Bay Barrage

From the National Assembly, your mission is to make it Penarth. The best way to do this is to take the scenic route around the bay and over the barrage. The walk will take you past the famous Norwegian Church, a skatepark, a makeshift beach, and a very cute pink house. It’s the best walking route in Cardiff.

Take in a sunset at Penarth Beach

Once you cross over the barrage, you’ll notice three things: a restaurant, a roundabout, and a menacing looking hill. We hate to tell you this, but it’s the latter you’ll be attacking (we’re not gonna lie, it’s horrible). But once you make it to the top of the hill, it’s all downhill to Penarth Beach. Timing wise, we planned the day around you making it to the beach for sunset. So assuming that happened, enjoy it! You earned this moment.

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Published -18th September 2018